"The truth ... is that to the dilettante the thing is the end, while to the professional as such it is the means; and only he who is directly interested in a thing, and occupies himself with it from love of it, will pursue it with entire seriousness. It is from such as these, and not from wage-earners, that the greatest things have always come."
Arthur Schopenhauer, 1851


November 2016

To my surprise, in the last couple of weeks I have heard from David Burns, and, even more surprisingly, he has sent me his A Short Comparison of Place-Names in England and Sweden, published in 2015. Short ? This book, all 600 pages of it, demands intense study by anyone still deluding him or her self about the origins of the English. I was astounded to read pages 399 and 518. This book surely establishes the original language spoken in England. Not English.

I had earlier encountered Stephen Oppenheimer's stimulating book, The Origins of the British: a genetic detective story, 2006. But languages leapfrog genes. Is not the link political ? ie who dominates, and dictates the language ? Not necessarily always, I suppose. Fundamentally, the Anglo-Saxon language survived the Norman French.

Oppenheimer's substantial tome bewildered me. I am here attempting to re-visit it, perhaps partly as a result of skimming the volume by Mr Burns, a labour of love if ever there was one, and trying to combine some of the information contained in both books..

On an earlier page I asked: Didn't the Modern English language derive from the language of the Anglians, who came from Engelholm, or Ängelholm ? Wasn't the language spoken in Engelholm, before 400 AD, Old Scandinavian ? Here is David Burns on Engelholm, arising from his comments on Ingleby Arncliffe, Yorkshire North Riding, page 389. He leads in with Bede's famous pun, about Angels and Angles, later infamously misinterpreted by Ezra Pound.

A Scandinavian land called Anglia, centred round Engelholm, could still be said to lie between the Saxons and the Jutes, ie the Götar, of course. It is very much more than probable that the fairhaired slaves seen by Pope Gregory were Scandinavian Angles, not Britons. But Scandinavia, and Sweden especially, is disregarded.

A map from Oppenheimer; hardback edition 2006, page 167, figure 4.11a.


Oppenheimer describes the genes clustering at their darkest on the above map (his Figure 4.11a) as centring "round Denmark and Oslo in southern Scandinavia". In fact, they seem to be clustering most thickly around Gothenburg, central Götaland, original home of the Geats, Goths, Jutes, in what is now Sweden, and there seems no point in mentioning Oslo, which in any case was not founded until the 11th century. Wikipedia notes that during the Stone Age, there was a settlement right on present day Gothenburg. There are prehistoric rock carvings round Gothenburg.

Oppenheimer remarks that those carrying these genes "moved to Britain starting from the late Mesolithic, and expanded there particularly during the Neolithic." Doggerland, left, started sinking into the sea circa 5,500 BC. Dates vary.

The internet has plenty to say about a language called Maglemosian, but it's not mentioned by Oppenheimer.

"Maglemosian (ca. 9500 BC–6000 BC) is the name given to a culture of the early Epipaleolithic period in Northern Europe. In Scandinavia, the culture is succeeded by the Kongemose culture." Azelian is another language mentioned in this context. It is equally non-existent in Oppenheimer.

"The Kongemose culture was a mesolithic hunter-gatherer culture in southern Scandinavia ca. 6000 BC–5200 BC and the origin of the Ertebølle culture. It was preceded by the Maglemosian culture. In the north it bordered on the Scandinavian Nøstvet and Lihult cultures." I'm lost.

Nevertheless, Oppenheimer is mentioned on this website called, How Old is English ? It's an interesting website, but, as usual, it seems virtually unaware of the very strong relationship between Swedish and the language formerly known as Anglo-Saxon.

See Language Trees
a recapitulation from here

Engelholm ?         Oresund ?

The Rev. Joseph Bosworth, Dr. Phil. of Leyden, etc, knew what he was doing and talking about, better than those who today favour "Old English". Although, I have to add, November 2016, only up to a point, Lord Copper. As David Burns has pointed out, the Rev. Bosworth was mistaken in thinking that the Old Englishmen (sic) mainly came from the Platt, Low, or North Part of Germany. It becomes clearer by the day, and hour, that these people came from the Several Parts of Scandinavia, some of which are, indeed, Quite Platt, but not all.

The word that got me started on this long trail occurs in The Seafarer, as unwearnum, which is in the adjectival dative case from the noun wearn. Only one person, in 1872, seems to have understood the true meaning of wearn. To any Swedish speaker, it will be obvious that wearn is directy cognate with värn, which means "defence". The Swedish for "Home Guard" is hemvärn.


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© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2016
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My fellow man I do not care for
I often ask me what he's there for
The only answer I can find
Is reproduction of his kind
Ogden Nash